When you decided to purchase rental properties and lease out your space to tenants, you likely weren’t looking forward to evicting tenants. As a property owner, ensuring your investment is taken care of and receiving rent payments on time is key to success.
Navigating the eviction process can be tricky, so here are a few things you should know:
What is an eviction?
When you choose to evict a tenant, you use the legal system to force the occupant of your property to leave. An eviction can be time-consuming because it requires processing through the courts. However, if you have a tenant refusing to pay or leave the premises, this may be your only recourse. A bank can also evict a homeowner for failure to pay their mortgage.
Common reasons landlords evict tenants:
You cannot evict a tenant just because you want to rent the space to someone else. There are laws in place that protect renters. Some common reasons tenants may be evicted include:
- Failure to pay rent or late fees agreed in the lease
- Violation of lease terms
- Damage to property
- Criminal activity or excessive complaints
- Lease terms have ended, and you don’t want to renew with the tenant
If you’re a homeowner, you can be evicted for failure to pay your mortgage or inability to pay your property taxes.
How does the eviction process work?
An eviction is a legal process, so multiple steps must be taken before an eviction is complete.
First, Utah law requires that a landlord provide at least three days written notice of pay or vacate. Landlords must provide written notice at least 15 days before the end of a rental term (on month-to-month agreements) if they want a tenant to move out due to the end of the lease agreement. If the tenant pays within the allotted time, the process can end here. If you want to evict due to lease violations, you can provide a written notice to cease activity or vacate.
Second, you can begin eviction proceedings with the court if the tenant refuses to move out. Many landlords opt to work with an attorney during this process. The attorney will help file the proper paperwork with the court. Typically, the courts will schedule a hearing within 10 days, and the tenants receive a summons to appear.
During the hearing, the tenant has the chance to defend themselves. If they don’t come to the hearing or the judge rules in your favor, the tenant will be asked to vacate your property within three days.
If the tenant fails to leave, the Sheriff’s office can enter the home to remove the tenants and change the locks.
Handling tenant belongings
If the tenant leaves without clearing out their property. You must store the property and notify the tenant to pick up their stuff within five days. If they don’t pick up their items within the allotted time, the tenant is responsible for any storage or transportation fees. You can sell the items if the tenant doesn’t try to reclaim their property within 15 days.
What laws do you need to know?
Evicting a tenant is never a fun process. You might feel guilty, and sometimes the tenants can get angry. But there are laws in place to ensure that you aren’t stuck with a non-paying renter.
Some crucial rules to note include:
- You cannot lock the tenant out of the apartment or shut off utilities to get them to pay. You must have a court order to change the locks.
- Landlords can tack on lawyer and storage fees and lock changing fees to the tenants’ owed rent if they’re evicted.
- Utah law allows tenants to make repairs and deduct the cost of the repairs from their rent if the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs.
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